The blood orange is a member of the citrus family, it is both beautiful in color and delicious in flavor.
They are in season from December through May, though the exact months vary depending on what type of blood Orange you’re baking or cooking with.
The most common variety available in markets is the the Moro variety.
The Moro blood orange is the most colorful of the blood oranges, with a deep red flesh and a rind with a bright red blush.
The deep red flesh means the orange ranges in color from orange veined ruby coloration, to vermilion, to vivid crimson, to nearly black.
The flavor is stronger and the aroma is more intense than a normal orange. The fruit has a distinct, sweet flavor with a hint of raspberry.
Are Blood Oranges Naturally Red
Author Harold McGee explains in his book “On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen” – that a blood orange owes the deep maroon color of their juice to anthocyanin pigments, which develop only when night temperatures are low, in the Mediterranean autumn and winter.”
What are anthocyanin pigments? The pigment is found naturally in a number of eatable plants.
These pigments are what produces the red, purple, and blue coloring of eatable plants, such as the blueberry, cherry, and strawberry among others.
The anthocyanin pigments will only develop when temperatures are low at night, as during the Mediterranean fall and winter.
In addition to acting an antioxidant, anthocyanins help fight free radicals, and are found to offer anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and anti-cancer benefits.
Nutritional Value of The Blood Orange
A fresh blood orange is a rich source of vitamins C (20% or greater of the Daily Value), a moderate source of folate (15% of the Daily Value) and dietary fiber.
The orange also has potassium, which is needed for healthy blood pressure and the absorption of zinc.
Interesting Facts About The Blood Orange
Within Europe, the arancia rossa di Sicilia, or the red orange of Sicily, has Protected Geographical Status.
According to The National Gardening Association, the flavor of blood oranges is essentially a cross between an orange and a raspberry.
Blood Orange Upside Down Cake
This recipe is baked in a 9-inch spring form pan. But we used four, 5-inch spring form pans. Using this size is up to you, but using them makes individual small sized cakes.
Cakes this size are great for serving at gathers, tea parties, and brunch.
• 2 sticks plus 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2/3 cup light brown sugar
• 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
• 4 medium-sized blood oranges
• 1 cup fine cornmeal, may sub almond flour
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 4 large eggs, at room temperature
• ⅓ cup sour cream
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place a 9 inch round piece parchment paper into a 9-inch round spring form pan.
Note: If using the 5-inch spring forms – do the same and place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of pans.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 3 tablespoons butter. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice. Stir until sugar melts, about 3 minutes. Scrape mixture into bottom of prepared pan (pans).
Grate 1/2 teaspoon zest from one of the oranges, then slice off the tops and bottoms of oranges.
Place oranges on a clean, flat surface, and slice away the rind and pith, top to bottom, following the curve of the fruit.
Slice each orange crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick wheels and discard any seeds.
Arrange orange wheels on top of brown sugar mixture in a single, tight layer.
In a large bowl, whisk together orange zest, cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl, cream together remaining 2 sticks butter with granulated sugar. Beat in eggs, one a time, then beat in sour cream and vanilla. Fold in the dry mixture by hand.
Scrape batter into pan (pans) over oranges. Transfer to oven and bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges clean, 40 to 50 minutes.
Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, then run a knife along pan’s edges to loosen it. Unlock side of pan and remove.
Next, invert cake onto a platter and cool completely before serving.